Discussions with others from Dewmaine determined that the two story school building was not in Dewmaine after 1930
because the Dewmaine High School was replaced by the Colp High School in October 1, 1927.
According to a photo submitted by Pat Shoffner of her dad's graduation class from Dewmaine in 1929, this was the last
class to graduate from Dewmaine high school with Josie Rafe and Professor Penn.
In 1931 Aunt Armanda started high school in Colp following her brother and sister there. She again kept a photo of the 1931-1932 school year that showed her as a freshman with a total of 50 students
divided evenly with girls and boys including the three teachers. At her age of 98, she can identify everyone in this picture
without looking at it. Most amazing, The teachers were Principal Carl Lee, teacher,
Gaffney Taylor and teacher Evelyn Bower. One of the girls was Izetta Brown Williams
who two years ago spoke with me of her memories of Dewmaine. She will be 104
in July, 2017.
Her older sister, Leona graduated from Dewmaine high school. Leona was
also born in Dewmaine. Izetta was born and attended grade school in Clifford. She went to the new high school in Colp when it opened in 1927. She remembered Armanda and her sister at Colp high school. Her
friend at high school was Francis Bowen. Her father, George Brown, had a baseball
team in Clifford called salt and pepper because it had colored and Italian baseball players.
Izetta's father was one family miner that had children attend schools in the three mining towns of Dewmaine, Clifford
Other family members who would have attended the two-story colored school in Dewmaine were: Thelma Phillips Rafe who said her first grade teacher in Dewmaine was Mrs. Flossie Williams. This would
be about 1914.
Next comes Mrs. Viola Williams who once told a writer of Colp history that she was a student at Dewmaine high school
when she met her husband Bo Williams. This would be about 1920/1922.
A news article also shows Rev Raymond Davis as one of the first to graduate from Colp High School in 1928. Additional
news articles produced by Jim Gentile revealed several articles of sports activity played by Dewmaine teams including a basketball
game showing Rev Davis as a player. Such articles include a track meet on May
4, 1925 when Dewmaine captured 2nd place at the Little Ten colored track meet played in Marion with Williams of
Dewmaine the high point of the meet by capturing 1st in the 50 and 100 yard dashes.
The Dewmaine girls took 3rd place in tennis and another news article dated January 21, 1928 shows that Dewmaine
High School basketball quintet edged out 12 to 7 by Carbondale Attucks. This
was the first defeat of the season suffered by the Dewmaine boys. The Dewmaine
lineup included Leftoie, Miller, Mays, Watson and Davis.
Following are students who only attended a one-room school at Dewmaine after 1930.
Starting with Homer Spears, son of Cleo and Lela Spears. He remembers
going to kindergarten in 1929-30 at a schoolhouse on the cemetery road behind the office of Dr. Springs with 4-6 steps, but
not sure if it had a second floor. He was in the first grade at Colp in 1930.
Billy Underwood was in 4rd grade in Colp when his family moved to Dewmaine in 1939. He was the son of Alonia Underwood and Lillie Underwood. They
moved into the home next to the old Post Office just across the highway from the office of Dr. Springs. Billy recalls going to a one-room school on cemetery road behind the office of Dr. Springs where he cleaned
the office for Dr. Springs. He also recalls that at one time the school building
was vacant and his father and others used it to can local grown vegetables to distribute among the neighbors.
Michael Martin, son of Johnnie Martin, and nephew of Armanda Martin Kirby, started grade school about 1947 at a different
one-room school located on the West side of the highway near home of Mr. Tobe Meeks.
This school had front steps and was on one level and his teacher was Miss Wardell Jones. Michael went to school here until it was closed about 1953 and he completed grade school in Colp and high
school in Herrin.
The final student from Dewmaine I spoke to was Jackye Sivels Watson who wrote a beautiful story in 1998 of her life
in Dewmaine. According to Jackye, about 1943 she first attended school from 1-3
grades at a one-room school located near the cemetery and about 1946-1947 the colored kids were transferred to the former
white school. She attended this school for 4-8 grades before going to high school for one year at Colp in 1952-53. She gave
much praise to her teacher Miss Wardell Jones who said her goal was to get her students ready for anybody's college and Jackye
added that during her year in high school she and two other students of Miss Wardell Jones wrote the best compositions. After the Dewmaine Grade School was closed, Miss Wardell Jones, according to Michael
Martin took a teaching position at Harvey, Illinois.
Emmanuel Duncan, although he never attended school in Dewmaine, he recalls a vacant school, one-room building, located
near the cemetery. In 1938, Attucks Grade School under the leadership of teacher Emma Carter became Colored State Champion
in a Spelling Bee contest composed of Emmanuel, Sally Pete Harvey, Alfred Brewington, Lee Anna Hill and another he could not
name. They won by defeating Carbondale and Dewmaine in the finals with colored
schools from Carbondale to Cairo participating. The finals were held in Colp. Sally kept a copy of the trophy.
Now I would like to tell of a personal story of myself and my great-grandmother Nicie Adkins. As a young boy, my great-grandmother often visited Colp and would take me fishing as she loved to do. We would either go to Clifford or Blairsville to fish in the big muddy river or locally
in the Colp mule pond. During our trips she used to tell me of her experience
of coming to Dewmaine in 1898 by train with my grandmother then about 2 years old. As
the train neared Carterville, the conductor told the passengers to close the shades and lie on the floor to avoid the gun
shots fired at the train.
She spoke of a lady who was shot and killed as she held a baby in her arms. I
never knew until reading the book Bloody Williamson that my great-grandma Adkins was speaking of a woman named Hannah Carr
and the baby would have been her youngest son, Wayne Carr. As an adult, I mentioned
this in Colp in the company of the late John Porch and he commented that he was the baby but some members of his family corrected
him that the lady killed was his aunt, not his mother. His mother, Minnie Porch
Payne, was the sister of Hannah Carr who was on the same train with her family including
John Porch at age 5. I later found Wayne Carr in the 1920 Census living
with his wife in the Colp area and later he was identified as a World War I veteran whose name was recently honored on a Colp
Veterans Memorial with 300 area veterans. This also includes two other great nephews of Hannah Carr, Joseph Powell and Sol
Griffin, Jr. who were among the 300 veterans honored.
After my review of the early schools of Blairsville and Herrin Townships without finding much written about Dewmaine
or Colp schools was a disappointment until I received a number of news articles found by Jim Gentile including sports activities
at Dewmaine and a church announcement dated February 5, 1954. The article related to the Mt Zion Baptist Church at Dewmaine
having a special service to honor members having over 30 years of service or more. Such
members included Mary and Peter Cox, Alfonzo McKinney, Bertha Perkins and J.E. Taylor.
The names of the Cox family, Mr. McKinney and Mr. Taylor were familiar
to me from my life in Colp. Mrs. Cox was the sister of Emma Allen Carter who
was my 8th grade principal and early teacher at Dewmaine. After confirming
with Tony Taylor Collins that Mr. J.E. Taylor was her grandfather, Jerry Taylor, I knew him as a father of 2 teachers at Colp,
including Grace Taylor Claybrook and Gaffney Taylor, teacher and principal at Colp High School from about 1930 until his death
in 1946. He was also my principal in high school.
Mr. J.E. Taylor was also known as the accountant for Mrs. Johanna Hatchett.
The church was organized in 1898 and Mr. Taylor was one of the original organizers.
Mr. Cox joined in 1903. The church once had 225 members. Now that I know
that such education minded people were involved with this church in early Dewmaine from the beginning in 1898, gives me a
positive feeling that I have found the answer to my grandmother's education in early Dewmaine.
There were no records when the white Dewmaine students started going to Carterville. The 1930 U.S. Census did reveal
several white families living in Dewmaine including the family of Dominic Capogreco and family of Joe Brandon shown his occupation
as a teamster with wife, Victory, and 4 sons and 2 daughters in the household with 4 school-age children. We did learn from
the daughter of the late Bonnie Barnes, that her mother attended the 4th grade at Dewmaine about 1910 when her
father was a coal miner there. This would place the one-room white school in
Dewmaine at 1910 or earlier and converted to a grade school for colored students about 1946.
According to information from Jim Gentile, Joe Macri, father of Jr Macri
was born in 1909 and during this time his father Frank Macri was working at the Dewmaine #8 coal mine and later he worked
at the Colp #9 mine. Joe Macri grew up living between Colp and Dewmaine. His sister Rose Surbaro was born in Dewmaine in 1907 and after her marriage to Dominic
Surbaro she delivered her first daughter, Angeline, in Dewmaine in 1923 and a second daughter,
Carmella, in Colp in 1925.
Before the end, I want to thank and express appreciation for all who shared their information with me.
This includes my wife, Marjorie, who under difficult circumstances, did all my typing with computer help from her Caregiver,
Kaila. Marge and I have been blessed to know Armanda most of our lives. She became my aunt by marrying in 1939 my uncle Norvel Kirby, son of Virginia and
Percy Kirby. She is now a widow and will celebrate her 99th birthday
in August with her family, Palmer, Ruby, Janice, Norvel and Scott. She still
lives in her own home with her youngest son, Scott.
I appreciate the following from Pat Shoffner. Her father Floyd Shoffner,
after graduation from Dewmaine high school in 1929, drove Professor Penn to Pontiac,
Michigan where he met and married Pat's mother, Vergie, in the same year. In
May 1930 these newly weds would be found in Colp household of Floyd's mother and stepfather, Ellie and John Sivels and their
new grandson Floyd Shoffner Jr, John Sivels would thereafter be known for his famous John's BBQ and secret sauce.